Monday, February 02, 2004

The Eggers-Keller Conspiracy Theory: Just off the phone with an Underground Literary Alliance fellow-traveler, trying to get a handle on what King Wenclas's subjects are doing (ULA writers do where other writers merely, uh, write) about the announcement by the editor of the New York Times that fiction is over.

"What's up, MT? You been writing?"

I just posted the New York Post horoscope on my blog.

"You're a pathetic waste of space. They should revoke your URL."

I think they might. Then I would have to start really writing again. Might not be so bad now that the Times isn't going to do fiction anymore.

"That's disgusting. It doesn't change a thing. Everything's just like it was, only more so."

I thought you might like the idea. Isn't the New York Times abandoning fiction a bit like Dorothy falling on the Wicked Witch? Ding, Dong?

"A lot of good that did. Look. I can see David Eggers on his heartbreaking broomstick and his flying fucking San Fran monkeys swooping now."

Come again?

"The Times hasn't been overthrown. It's abdicating new fiction to the earnest, anti-snark McSweeniacs. The Believer is the new New York Times Book Review. It's worse. More exclusive, more esoteric, more expensive. Instead of a best seller list you get the list of what that guy who wrote that movie with John Cusack is reading."

So what are you going to do?

"Same thing we were doing anyway. Books are over. Who can afford to buy a new book? Literary zines are the future of literature. Produced on the cheap. Kinkos scams. Write well, publish now. Literature you can put in your back pocket and read on the bus."

Isn't the Believer a kind of literary zine?

"It's the anti-zine. The zines are about getting bold literature with a head and a heart into the homes of reader-citizens. The Believer costs like one-hundred bucks a year, and is dryer than a flour sandwich. Duller than a rubber spatula. They're trying to lull us into sleeping in a flowery field. Objectively speaking, Keller and Eggers are either working together."

Eggers wife, Vendela Vida, thinks I'm stalking her because I ran into her every day for a week this summer. Should I be worried?

"He's definitely going to get you. And your little blog too."

[The Kicker--Defenders of Literary Fiction: 1, Keller: -5,231]